So, Cú returned to the rescue centre for some re-evaluation. His anxiety means that he may do best with other dogs around him for awhile.
He has come such a long way in the last two months since he was found abandoned in a rural part of the country. I am so proud of him!
I celebrated my birthday while he was living with me, and luckily one of my favourite groups had a live gig on that same week. I got all dressed up and ready for a boogie. I was worried he would freak out with the noise, but he just wandered into the little foyer where his bed is at night and settled down. He gave me some funny looks, but didn’t seem too alarmed.
I made the rookie mistake of mentally preparing to adopt him when he arrived as my foster. I learned my lesson! If/when I foster again, I know to have zero expectations that the dog will prove to be the perfect companion for me. It’s selfish. They have enough processing and recovering to be doing without shape-shifting into what you want them to be.
Bringing him back out to the rescue centre was awful. I’m not going to sugar coat it. Again, if I do this again, I will pre-organise that someone else chauffeur him back out. The car ride itself was so distressing for poor Cú that when we got there – after a 90 minute drive!! – he wouldn’t come near me. So I didn’t get to give him one last cuddle.
That morning I gave him a few treats right after his breakfast. I was about to put him into the car which I knew would be awful for him, so I was trying to sweeten him up first! The first two he ate, and then he did something he’d never done before. I was flattened. He hopped up onto the couch and gently started burying the treat in the blanket. ‘For Later’. Oh my heart. I suppose it clicked in his mind that this was his home now. Oh it hurts just remembering the moment.
However, I have to say that when we got back out to the rescue centre, he was very happy to see the lovely ladies who volunteer out there. He remembered them and wagged his tail, went down on his back for belly rubs. That made it a LOT easier. I couldn’t have brought him there if I thought it was a bad place. But no, they really love the dogs. And it’s more of a farm than anything else. Huge green space.
I cried like a crazy lady all the way there and all the way home. I called a friend who has known me for years and she said ‘I’ve never heard you cry like this, not even over a breakup!’ That made me realise it was like the worst and best breakup you could have. There is no way to communicate to the dog what is happening, that you love him and that you wish him well…so that’s tough. And then it’s a great way to say goodbye because dogs live in the moment. And he proved to all of us that even though he had a rough start, he can bond with humans and love them and PLAY!
Within a few days, I was so relieved to realise I had no regrets. I did my best, and I think he will have the best life possible with people who care about him now.
His arrival at my house in September, with a Big Box of Love that a dog-rescue group posted him when they saw his story on social media. There is so much good in the world too!